Restaurant review - The Gallery Restaurant at the Cavendish Hotel, Baslow
PUBLISHED: 14:43 08 May 2014
The Cavendish on the Chatsworth estate is a superb place to dine during the horse trials
While spending three days at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials being held at one of the country’s most beautiful stately homes it is worthwhile checking out the local area which has some excellent restaurants. Don’t miss the Gallery restaurant at the elegant Cavendish Hotel, part of the Chatsworth estate.
Originally the famous Peacock Inn, it was once the property of the Duke of Rutland and a stopping off place for those crossing the turnpike between industrial Chesterfield and the spa town of Buxton but it became the Duke of Devonshire’s property around 1830. In the early 1970′s it was rebuilt as the Cavendish by Chatsworth who made sure it lost none of its stunning character. It was ‘Debo’ the Duchess of Devonshire who personally selected the decor and furnishings, some of which came from the grand house itself.
As you may expect, the dining room has a feeling of grandeur, but miraculously manages not to be stuffy, thanks to the combination of silver soft furnishings, pretty duck egg blue on the walls and some intriguing fine art. There are well-behaved children on the table next to me and my other half on our visit, which made it feel rather European and while staff are attentive they don’t bother you every five minutes fussing with your wine and continually asking how you are.
So far so good. Fresh ingredients are used they say on the website, as if anyone would confide that they were using sell-bys but I’ll let that pass as the food is delicious. There are few ‘smears’ and no slates just proper, nicely presented well-thought-out dishes.
My vegetarian choice of starter, field mushroom and blue cheese tart with pears and watercress was so very good. The pastry was rich and the combination of these flavours was near to perfect. A rabbit ballotine and rabbit rillette fritter with tarragon hollandaise was also declared a winner although it was the accompanying pea risotto that raised it to memorable status.
Similarly the lamb’s belly ‘bacon’ and a mini shepherd’s pie were the highlights of a main course of seared loin on lamb, sweetbreads, cabbage, carrots and mint sauce. Pumpkin gnocci with Parmesan cheese, sage and poached egg was surprisingly light and perfect eating for early Spring.
If we held a competition for best pudding then my lime meringue with bitter chocolate sorbet was the outright winner. The cherry cloufoutis was very good indeed but the combination of bitter creamy cold chocolate against zingy lime and just sweet enough meringue was the best.
So when you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch or dinner during the International Horse Trials, take the 15 minute stroll across the divine Chatsworth estate to this delightful restaurant and treat yourself to a culinary delight. But don’t forget to book. With its vista of Chatsworth, delicious food and happy ambience, it’s sure to get busy over the event weekend.
Our meal of the set three-course dinner at £45 per head, with wine and service, was £157.
The Gallery Restaurant at the Cavendish Hotel
Derbyshire DE45 1SP